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Piriformis Syndrome

Piriformis Syndrome

Piriformis syndrome is a condition in which the piriformis muscle impinges the sciatic nerve,

Piriformis syndrome

The presence of piriformis syndrome gives rise to discomfort or loss of sensation in the buttocks, hip, or upper limb. This condition arises when the sciatic nerve experiences pressure from the piriformis muscle. Oftentimes people will self-diagnose with sciatica, although tis is very different. Factors contributing to its development include injury, inflammation, muscle contractions, or the presence of scar tissue within the piriformis. Fortunately, in the majority of cases, rest and basic treatments suffice to alleviate symptoms within a short span of a few days or weeks.

The compression of your sciatic nerve by the piriformis muscle, known as piriformis syndrome, leads to inflammation and may manifest as either buttock pain or leg.The piriformis muscle is a slender and horizontally oriented muscle. It travels from the lower portion of your spinal column, traverses the gluteal region, and reaches up to the upper part of your thighs. Extending laterally on either side of your body, this pivotal muscle actively contributes to nearly all the movements involving your lower body.


Numbness extending down the back. This condition can affect either one side or both sides of your body. The piriformis muscle commonly acts as a covering for the sciatic nerve. Emerging from the spinal cord, the nerve traverses the buttocks before coursing along the length of both legs, finally reaching the feet. This nerve holds the distinction of being the largest and longest one within your entire body.

Despite occasionally sharing a connection and exerting an influence on the sciatic nerve, these conditions possess dissimilarities. Sciatica can be caused by a herniated disk or spinal stenosis, manifesting in symptoms that primarily target the lower back, with the potential to radiate down through the buttocks and leg.

Piriformis syndrome entails the compression of a specific region of the sciatic nerve by the piriformis muscle within the buttock. While akin to sciatica, Piriformis syndrome typically originates from a variety of prevalent factors:

  • The occurrence of swelling within the piriformis, leg, or lower back pain.

  • Uncontrolled contractions of the muscles.

  • Formation of scar tissue within the muscular structure.

It exclusively occurs in a localized area. Piriformis syndrome can be triggered by any factor leading to the compression of the sciatic nerve.

These may arise from: 

  • Insufficient strength in the piriformis muscles can result in difficulties while ascending stairs or engaging in walking or running activities.

  • The hip, buttocks, or legs are susceptible to injury in situations like falls or car accidents.

  • A sedentary lifestyle can cause muscle tightness due to physical inactivity.

  • Improper lifting techniques can result in damage to the piriformis muscle.

  • Failing to adequately warm up or stretch before physical exertion or neglecting proper stretching post-exercise can lead to issues.

  • Overzealous exercise routines or repetitive movements like long-distance running can be detrimental.

  • People who spend prolonged periods seated, especially those with desk jobs, can face the consequences of extended sitting.

Sometimes, piriformis syndrome can occur due to abnormal anatomy, which is referred to as primary piriformis syndrome by healthcare providers. This can happen when a person is born with a sciatic nerve that follows an uncommon route within their body. Another possibility is when a person is born with an abnormally shaped piriformis muscle or sciatic nerve.

Piriformis syndrome manifests with discomfort in the buttocks, hip, or upper leg. Frequently referred to as, individuals commonly depict the sensation as shooting, burning, aching, tingling, pain, numbness.  Experiencing escalated symptoms is likely to occur while engaging in specific activities, including prolonged periods of inactivity, running or walking, as well as going up or downstairs.

Fortunately, massage therapy techniques such as therapeutic massage can help address the painful discomforts caused by piriformis syndrome. You may also notice that yin yoga helps with piriformis condition. Book your massage and yoga class today to resolve your piriformis syndrome today!

*Massage therapists are not allowed to treat, prescribe, or diagnose. 

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